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BLOGWORDS – Thursday 17 January 2019 – CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – ROBIN E. MASON

 

CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – ROBIN E. MASON

“Maybe you have to know the darkness to truly appreciate the light.”—Madeline L’Engle

 

“Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.” – Carol Burnett

 

In honor of Chat Thursday returning next week,

I am pleased to welcome MOI to my little nest.

FAST FAVES

Cake or Cookies?  cookies

Call or Text?  call

Dogs or Cats?  cats

Eggs or Pancakes? eggs

Facebook or Twitter? Facebook (I live there… )

Paperback or Kindle? paperback

Thornton or Darcy? Darcy, specifically as portrayed by Colin Firth

Yoga Pants or Jeans? stretchy pants

 

rem:  Hullo Robin! Welcome. Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?

ROBIN:  Thanks, always glad to be here. We moved around when I was growing up. Sixteen years in Colorado—went to high school, got married, had babied, got divorced, and went to college. I moved to the upstate of SC in 1988, and have lived here since. I currently live in Greer.

rem:  Tell us three random things about yourself no one knows.

ROBIN:  I am ambidextrous. I started learning Russian a few years ago (stalled out) and have started learning Gaelic. I was planning to go to college as a vocal music major.

rem:  What is your favourite quotation and why?

ROBIN:  There is freedom waiting for you on the breezes of the sky. And you ask, What if I fall? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?”  by Erin Hanson

I lived so, so many years believing I was a failure. It crippled me from trying, and instilled a fear, not of failure, but of success.

rem:  What’s the most random thing in your bag or on your desk?

ROBIN:  On the shelf next to me is a tube of glitter. Not sure why it landed there, but there it sits…

rem:  If you could go back in time, what era would you choose and why?

ROBIN:  OY! This is like choosing a favorite! I love history, and would love to visit so many eras, beginning with Biblical times—and work my way to the present.

rem:  Do you have a favorite Bible verse? And why is it a favorite?

ROBIN:  Can’t pick a favorite any more than I can choose a favorite movie or TV show, but I do have a life verse—Be not conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the Word of God. Romans 12:2

rem:  If you could spend an evening with a fictional character, who would it be and why?

ROBIN:  This is akin to choosing a favorite… For the sake of answering the question, I choose Tessa, from my own debut novel. Writing her, writing this story, is what first drew me into my passion for writing, and stirred my appreciation for all the other authors and characters.

 

rem:  What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?  How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ?

ROBIN:  The stories we write are very much akin to the parables Jesus told. They paint a living picture of life, and with fiction at our fingertips, we have the liberty and privilege to weave Spiritual Truths into our stories, placed as naturally as the air we breathe or the coffee our characters drink. Unbelievers who might never pick up a Bible—or a believer who needs encouragement—finds God’s love and truth wrapped in the words and pages of the stories we write.

As an author, I have realized truths that I might not have ever otherwise recognized. In the writing, the words and lessons are secured firmly in my mind and heart.

rem:  When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you? Your fiction pet peeve?

ROBIN:  Cheesy dialogue.

rem:  What would you do if you weren’t writing?

ROBIN:  My degree is Interior Design. But I love acting, too, and was in theatre all through high school.

rem:  What are you reading right now?

ROBIN:  Just started The Scroll by Miriam Feinberg Vamosh.

rem:  What do you munch on while you write?

ROBIN:  I’m a mood eater (also eat per dictate of my blood sugar… ) so it varies—I do most of my writing in the evening, and usually have cookies on hand.

 

rem:  Tell us a little about your writing journey.

ROBIN:  Stories have always rattled around in my head. The opening of what would become my debut novel, Tessa, came to me while I was out on a walk in July of 2008. I diverted to college, and after graduation in 2013, I devoted my time to finish my story. Without a clue and with the help of an author friend, I released Tessa in March of 2014. I have discovered a

rem:  What is your Writing Routine? Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook?

ROBIN:  A nest. I write in a nest. My routine, such that it is, seems to be backward to what I most often read as best—to write first thing. I find, however, that until I tend to other tasks, i.e. email and blog stuff, I don’t focus so well on my story. Ergo, I do the bulk of my writing later in the day and evening.

rem:  What makes you struggle as an author? How do you handle it?

ROBIN:  all.the.things an (Indie) author has to do! Staying focused. I created an Excel spreadsheet as my calendar to keep up with my blog schedule, and other details. On it, I have a tab to track my word count.

My greatest struggle, though, is that I have rheumatoid arthritis, and the weakness and fatigue associated with it. I don’t have stamina to do many of the things I need to and want to do.

I handle it by praying, and by doing what I can and [have had to learn to] leave what I can’t till another day.

rem:  What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

ROBIN:  The community of other authors! Oh, and the stories! I love the stories!

rem:  What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?

ROBIN:  Marketing! I don’t have a budget to speak of, and am limited on what I can do to promote.

Easiest? Writing the story! I get so lost in my story world, and enjoy being there.

rem:  What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer? What 3 things would recommend not doing?

ROBIN:

DO: Read, read, read. Join and participate in writer’s groups. Attend writers conferences.

DON’T: Go it on your own. Skip help where you need it—editing, cover design, etc. Don’t ever compare yourself, your journey, to other authors.

rem:  How do you choose your characters’ names?

ROBIN:  I don’t really, they (my characters) introduce themselves and tell me their names. Only a few do I choose, and to do that, I look at lists of names for the era and nationality or location. Also, sometimes names are rooted in family history.

rem:  Do you think of the entire story before you start writing?

ROBIN:  Nope. I know the beginning, and have a general idea where the story needs to go. I let my characters lead me from Point A to Point Z, or wherever it ends up.

rem:  Tell us a little about your latest book? What is your current project?

ROBIN:  I’ve been floundering lately. There are a few reasons for this. And I only just recognized one of those reasons the other day—I wasn’t sure my main characters’ (two MC’s in this book) major conflict, or where it’s going. Now I’ve identified that much I can move it forward.

And that said, my next book is a change of genre for me—going for a bit more lighthearted mood this time. One for the Price of Two, twins Elizabeth and Meredith are so identical their parents can’t tell them apart. They learn early on how to exploit this, mostly for kicks and giggles. Inevitably, of course, they must discern their own unique identities.

rem:  What is YOUR favorite part about the book or why do you love this book? Why should we read it?

ROBIN:  I’ve only just begun, but the opening is pretty funny—see below. I love this because it’s a new genre for me, and yet still my theme of search for identity. And you should read it because it’s going to be—hold it, it IS an amazing story, with laughs and kisses and swoony (nods to Pepper Basham) scenes.

rem:  Tell us about why you wrote this book.

ROBIN:  The story has been with me for 20-ish years. I’ve always been fascinated with twins / multiples, and with multiple personality disorder (think Sybil.) This is my first story to play with the issue of twins.

rem:  Please give us the first page of the book.

ROBIN:

 

“YOU!” Elizabeth Elliott skewered her sister with a glare.

“Took a long lunch, did ya?” Meredith shrugged, a smirk streaked across her face.

Bethy jabbed a well-manicured finger in her twin sister’s chest, punctuating each word. “That.Was.Not.Funny.”

“But you had a good time, didn’t ya?” Mere’s smirk burst into a snicker, then a chuckle. She followed when Bethy turned and wove her way through the cluster of workstations in the open office area.

“Well?” Mere prodded. She folded her arms and propped herself against Bethy’s desk.

Bethy unlocked her desktop computer and started clacking away without so much as a glance at her sister.

“You know I’m not leaving till you at least tell me if you liked him.” Mere slid into the blue upholstered side chair next to Bethy’s chair-on-wheels. Mere tipped back slightly, and propped her feet next to the computer.

The keyboard clattered as Bethy’s fingers tripped over the keys. Randomly. On a blank doc. “He.Was.A.Troll.”

“What?” Mere leveled the chair and leaned forward.

“What were you thinking?”

“You haven’t dated since—”

“Don’t say it.”

“C’mon, Beth.” Mere’s confusion ebbed to sympathy. “You need to get back out there.”

“Where did you even find this guy?”

Mere hesitated, sputtered. Her plan had been brilliant. She had anticipated laughing over her sister’s profile on the dating site. Mere had been sure this guy was a perfect match—a match made in heaven, just like the site claimed.

“It was supposed to be a joke.”

“Well it wasn’t funny.” Bethy clacked at the keyboard, and opened her current presentation doc.

“He was cute, at least.”

“Cute? You call pulling his teeth out to bite me cute?”

Mere’s eyes widened and her hand covered her mouth, trying to stifle a snicker. She wasn’t successful.

“It wasn’t funny.” Bethy’s arms tensed and she crossed them over her chest. “It was creepy.”

“I’m sorry.” Mere swallowed another giggle. “He was a hottie in his profile pic.”

“Profile?” Bethy’s eyes narrowed. “What profile?”

“Oh, that.” Amusement stretched across Mere’s face.

“What. Profile?” Amusement was not written on Bethy’s face.

“Match Made in Heaven.”

“The dating site?” Bethy’s chair smacked into the credenza, knocking two books and a plant loose as she launched to her feet.

“What?” Mere stood to match her sister. “It’s a good site. They have the highest success rate.”

“Not with gremlins like the one you found.” Bethy surrendered into her chair. “What were you thinking?”

Mere leaned sideways across the curved work surface, tugged the keyboard. In a few strokes she had opened the website. “There? See?”

Bethy’s eyes widened. “Well, that’s not who I had lunch with.”

“Maybe it’s an old picture.”

“Yeah, like a hundred years ago.” She scrutinized. “Before a spell was cast on him.”

“I was just trying to help, okay?” Mere logged off and made her way back to her workstation.

 

rem:  What is one take-away from your book(s) that you hope readers identify with?

ROBIN:  We are each unique, made in the image of God, with giftings and purpose.

rem:  Anything you’d like to add?

ROBIN:  You have an amazing blog! #winkwink  I love all the birds and nests and stuff!

rem:  Why thank you, Robin! You know what they say, great minds and all…

.

 

 

“There is freedom waiting for you on the breezes of the sky. And you ask, What if I fall? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?” —Erin Hanson

 

 

 

http://robinemason.com

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Author.Robin.E.Mason/

http://www.amazon.com/Robin-E.-Mason/e/B00MR5IQ9S
https://twitter.com/amythyst212
http://www.pinterest.com/amythyst212/

https://www.instagram.com/robinemason212/

https://plus.google.com/+RobinEMason

https://www.linkedin.com/in/robin-e-mason-a323b142/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7808042.Robin_E_Mason

 

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”  – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

“Break the rules. That’s my number one rule. I know the rules [of grammar] and I know how to break them.”

 

 

#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, Robin E. Mason

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BLOGWORDS – Thursday 17 March 2019 – CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – RETURNING SOON

 

CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – RETURNING SOON

“Break the rules. That’s my number one rule. I know the rules (of grammar) and I know how to break them.”

Chat Thursday has been anemic for most of 2018. With only three interviews—count ‘em, THREE—for the entire year!! (by the way, GO VOTE!!!) Truly, the whole of the blog has been anemic.

Till now! The drought is over!! Next week, on Thursday 24 January, we meet the lovely Deborah Raney! In honor of being my first re-interviewee, Ms. Raney has graciously offered to provide a mug from her wonderful collection.

 

“There is freedom waiting for you on the breezes of the sky. And you ask, What if I fall? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?” —Erin Hanson

 

 

 

 

“Maybe you have to know the darkness to truly appreciate the light.”—Madeline L’Engle

 

 

#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, Returning Soon

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BLOGWORDS – Thursday 17 January 2019 – CHAT THURSDAY – WHO’S YOUR FAVORITE

CHAT THURSDAY – WHO’S YOUR FAVORITE

 

WINNER!!! WINNER!!! WINNER!!!

NOT!

 

The Chat Thursday Who’s Your Favorite post in December seems to have gotten lost in some digital black hole, and garnered no votes!! For that reason, I am extending the Chat Thursday vote to the end of January!

 

SOOOO….

 

IT’S BLOG VOTING TIME – AGAIN!!

 

Comment on this post for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card. Each commenter will be entered, and the FAVORITE INTERVIEWEE will win one as well.

* Voting open through 31 January.

 

I’ve done a meager 3 interviews (plus character interviews) this year on CHAT THURSDAY and it’s time for you, MY READERS, to vote on your favorite. So here, in no particular order—just kidding, in chronological order—are my interviewees this year.

 

 

9 August         Cyle Young

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/2018/08/09/blogwords-thursday-9-august-2018-chat-thursday-manly-man-blitz-cyle-young/

16 August       Gary Fearon

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/2018/08/16/blogwords-thursday-16-august-2018-chat-thursday-manly-man-blitz-gary-fearon/

30 August       David Mike

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/2018/08/30/blogwords-thursday-30-august-2018-chat-thursday-manly-man-blitz-david-mike/

 

 

I’ll tally the votes after the first of the year and post the results on Thursday 21 February.

 

 

#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Who’s Your Favorite Winners Take 2

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BLOGWORDS – Thursday 10 March 2019 – CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – RETURNING SOON

 

CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – RETURNING SOON

 

“Break the rules. That’s my number one rule. I know the rules (of grammar) and I know how to break them.”

 

Chat Thursday has been anemic for most of 2018. With only three interviews—count ‘em, THREE—for the entire year!! Truly, the whole of the blog has been anemic.

 

 

Till now! The drought is over!! In two weeks, on Thursday 24 January, we meet the lovely Deborah Raney! In honor of being my first re-interviewee, Ms. Raney has graciously offered to provide a mug from her wonderful collection.

 

 

 

“There is freedom waiting for you on the breezes of the sky. And you ask, What if I fall? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?” —Erin Hanson

 

 

 

“Maybe you have to know the darkness to truly appreciate the light.”—Madeline L’Engle

 

 

#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, Returning Soon

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BLOGWORDS – Thursday 20 December 2018 – CHAT THURSDAY – WHO’S YOUR FAVORITE

CHAT THURSDAY – WHO’S YOUR FAVORITE

 

IT’S BLOG VOTING TIME!!

 

Comment on this post for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card. Each commenter will be entered, and the FAVORITE INTERVIEWEE will win one as well.

 

* Voting open through 10 January.

 

 

I’ve done a meager 3 interviews (plus character interviews) this year on CHAT THURSDAY and it’s time for you, MY READERS, to vote on your favorite. So here, in no particular order—just kidding, in chronological order—are my interviewees this year.

 

15 February     character interview     Jacqueline Marchand Williams

22 February     character interview     Luc Marchand

28 February     character interview     Pearl Marchand Grüber

3 May              character interview     Polly McBride

10 May            character interview     The Colonel

17 May            character interview     Chayton

24 May            character interview     Suzette Dubois Fenn & Violet Dubois

31 May            character interview     Simone Dubois Bishop

 

9 August         Cyle Young

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/2018/08/09/blogwords-thursday-9-august-2018-chat-thursday-manly-man-blitz-cyle-young/

16 August       Gary Fearon

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/2018/08/16/blogwords-thursday-16-august-2018-chat-thursday-manly-man-blitz-gary-fearon/

30 August       David Mike

https://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/2018/08/30/blogwords-thursday-30-august-2018-chat-thursday-manly-man-blitz-david-mike/

 

 

I’ll tally the votes after the first of the year and post the results on Thursday 17 January.

 

 

#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Who’s Your Favorite

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BLOGWORDS – Thursday 30 August 2018 – CHAT THURSDAY – MANLY MAN BLITZ  – DAVID MIKE

CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – DAVID MIKE

 

“Sometimes, I get feedback from those who read it, other times I will never know if Dishonor made any sort of impact. But, I am so glad that I have an opportunity to share my story. God is constantly at work, drawing people to Himself. To be used in any way in this process is the greatest honor. It blows me away that He allows us to be a part of His mission.”

“Describing me as a high strung individual, is a fairly accurate description… During the day, I often feel as if the entire world is crashing down around me. If I can complete just one of the many tasks I need to do, the entire universe settles in a sense of order and accomplishment.”

 

 

rem:  Hullo David, and welcome to Robin’s Nest. Tell us three things about yourself that no one knows.

DAVID:  1. I can bend both my index fingers backwards rem: OUCH  2. I learned how to swim by watching my children take lessons. 3. Almond M&M’s are my favorite candy.

 

FUN FAVES

rem:  Cookout—steaks or burgers?

DAVID:  Turkey burgers. Turkey tastes better than beef!

rem:   I’ll take your word on that… Coke or Pepsi?)

DAVID:  I am a fan of Coke, however I just recently quit drinking soda and have switched to unsweetened tea. (Lowering sugar intake, trying to stay alive longer…)

rem:  Coke for me too—but only when my blood sugar dips and only for the sugar. Otherwise, it’s unsweet tea 24/7. Over or under or monster?

DAVID:  Over of course.

rem:  Ten points!! Fishing or hunting?

DAVID:  I don’t eat seafood and I am forbidden from owning a gun by the federal government. So I have to say neither.

rem:  I shall claim your portion of seafood. Vacation: beach or mountains?

DAVID:  Beach

rem:  Such a soothing sound.

 

rem:  Do you have a favorite Bible verse? And why is it a favorite?

DAVID:  Romans 8:1 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.

This is my favorite verse because to me it means that we are totally forgiven from our past and that we belong to Him!

rem:  YES and AMEN!! (Romans is my favorite book in the Bible!) If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?

DAVID:  I had to really think about this one. I really enjoy Craig Groeschel’s writing and sermons so maybe him or Francis Chan. Either of those guys. I would love to catch a just a little bit of their passion and conviction.

rem:  Seems to me your passion and conviction shows up loud and clear in what you’ve written. Are you a reader? Fiction or non? What are you reading right now?

DAVID:  I listen to books on Audible because it’s more convenient for me. Most of the books I read are bios and memoirs, especially stories about overcoming great obstacles in life. Many are military in nature, however I just finished The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row by Anthony Ray Hinton from a recommendation. It was very good.

rem:  I can see why those powerful stories would appeal to you. When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you?

DAVID:  What makes a story is the ability of the author to pull me into the story so well, that I am visually there. What breaks a story is when I feel like it’s dragging along and I am getting nowhere.

rem:  True on both counts. You have a different writing journey to most authors I interview, but you have an invaluable message. What is the essence of your message?

DAVID:  What I want people to take away from my book is that, we don’t have to be defined by our past. We can find total forgiveness in what Christ did for us on the cross.

rem:  YES and AMEN times two! How did your book come about?

DAVID:  As a military child and having moved around my whole life, I have always been a storyteller. When the fact that I had been in prison came up in conversation, people wanted to hear more. After sharing details, almost everyone would say, “You need to write a book!” I was given the advice to blog first, then compile the blog posts into a book. So I wrote and posted my book on my blog a thousand words a week for three years. It was such good advice because, my story developed a following which assisted in the success of my launch. (Of course God had His hand in the whole thing.)

rem:  I’d say it worked well indeed! You are a living and vivid example of Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

What was the turning point for you?

DAVID:  There were several turning points for me. 1. After a drug relapse in prison, I got a letter from my dad stating he would risk his job, reputation and life on the fact that I would never do drugs again. God showed me that I was hurting the people that loved and cared about me. I swore off drugs forever. 2. Hearing a preacher on the radio say that God forgave all my sins 2000 years before I was born. I didn’t have to beg for forgiveness anymore because I was already forgiven. I just needed to rest in this truth.

rem:  Powerful—there are no words [to respond.] What would you do differently?

DAVID:  Just say no to drugs.

rem:  You said in a phone call to your parents, “They said that they were praying for me but, I wasn’t really listening, I just wanted to let them know I was fine.” As a mother of grown children, I have watched them make foolish decisions and understand a degree of the angst your parents must have felt.

You turned a deaf ear to their faith, but could you feel or sense the Power of their prayers? How so?

DAVID:  It is hard to explain but at one point, I felt a very clear physical pressure surrounding my body to turn myself in to the authorities. I had my mind made up that I would even die through suicide by cop, rather than go back to jail. So I know that the feelings I felt were not my own. I was being guided and directed by the Holy Spirit because of all the people praying for me.

rem:  Powerful. (and encouraging to this mother) Father has brought you into a fulfilled and very different life. You said you told your wife (then fellow student) “not to even get close to [you.]” Clearly she didn’t heed your warning. How did your relationship develop?

DAVID:  My wife was actually a student of mine; I was her instructor. At that time, I was not planning on staying in Omaha. I was working on moving back to a previous job in England. I feel like God placed Lindsay in my life. We fell for each other and God has kept us together. My life has been better ever since.

rem:  Gotta love when God places people in our lives—for whatever reason. Before we go, I gotta speak to your “Humorous Life Lessons.” (Making people laugh and smile seems to be one of my gifts.) I read your “Skullnelly” bit—love it! What is your favorite “Humorous Life Lesson?”

DAVID:  You have to read my story Crappy Day in the Library I really put myself out there in that one. (Here is the link) http://dilemmamike.com/2018/01/22/crappy-library-day/

rem:  OH! MY! GOODNESS! I was rolling on the floor! Poor kid!! One more question for ya—do you think you’ll write another book? Why or why not? BONUS: Fiction or non?

DAVID:  My goal is to take all of the Humorous Life Lessons and compile them into a smaller book than my first. It seems like I write best when it is about myself, so non-fiction.

rem:  Sign me up for that one!! Anything you’d like to add?

DAVID:  “Get off your ask.” I heard someone say this at a conference. It means when you need help, reach out to someone. So many people helped me along the process of writing that I couldn’t have done it without them. Find a community and work together. It’s hard to make it on your own and why would you want to. You will be surprised to find out how many people out there are willing to lend a hand.

rem:  I have and am experiencing this in my life, both in the writing community, and in my recovery (from surgery.) David, thank you so much for chatting with us at my little nest today!

 

 

“One of the things I learned from this whole experience was that no matter what adversity I faced, I knew that I could make it. Not on my own strength or will, but by the grace of God. It was He who’d carried me through this journey.”

 

 

http://dilemmamike.com/

https://www.facebook.com/dilemmamikeblog/

https://twitter.com/dilemmamike

https://www.amazon.com/David-Mike/e/B01KOT6APA/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1534121875&sr=1-2-ent

https://www.instagram.com/dilemmamike/?ref=badge

 

 

 

“1 Peter 2:9 (NLT) …For he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.

You do not have to be defined by your past, you have been forgiven and can have a new identity in Christ.

“If you have an incarcerated friend or family member or know someone who is struggling with the guilt and shame from their past, I will send a copy of Dishonor to them. Contact me through social media.

 

 

#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, David Mike, Dilemma Mike, Dishonor

 

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BLOGWORDS – Thursday 16 August 2018 – CHAT THURSDAY – MANLY MAN BLITZ  – GARY FEARON

CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – GARY FEARON

“If the golden rule of writing is to do unto other writers as you would have them do unto you, that’s a pretty easy assignment.  It could be summed up thusly: good will, good wishes, and a good plug.”

“Walk a mile in your character’s shoes.  If he or she has a penchant for gambling, spend a day at a casino. If they have a green thumb, get your fingers dirty in the garden or hang out at a nursery.  If they are a beach bum, I can think of worse things than sipping piña coladas in a hammock for the sake of research.”

 

rem:  Hullo Gary, and welcome to The Nest. Tell us three things about yourself that no one knows.

GARY:  1. I’m a decent cook as long as it’s five ingredients or less.

  1. I’ve seen every episode of Catfish.
  2. My first real job training was for the IRS. Don’t hate me.

rem:  Cooking is good; Catfish I only know as something to cook… And IRS, what a fabulous source for story ideas and plotlines!!!

 

FUN FAVES

rem:  Cookout—steaks or burgers?

GARY:  If I’ll be eating it outside, burgers.

rem:  Of course! Coke or Pepsi?

GARY:  Coke, because I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony.

rem:  Best reason I’ve heard all day! TP: Over or under or monster?

GARY:  Please don’t tell me there are monsters in my bathroom.

rem:  You didn’t hear it from me. Fishing or hunting?

GARY:  Neither.  I can’t even kill a bug without remorse.

rem:  Then who, uh, catches those catfish to fry??? Vacation: beach or mountains?

GARY:  Amusement park.

rem:  Ohhhh yessss!! All the roller coasters!!

rem:  Do you have a favorite Bible verse? And why is it a favorite?

GARY:  Revelation 21:4, about there being no more death nor crying nor pain. Who could ask for more?

rem:  What a glorious time that will be! If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?

GARY:  Paul McCartney. I have so many questions about so many songs. It would be the most exhausting night of his life.

rem:  I love Paul McCartney! And Wings at the Speed of Sound! What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?  How has being a writer / songwriter / producer impacted your relationship with Christ?

GARY:  That there is a genre dedicated to those who write it and read it testifies to its popularity and power. For other writers who just happen to be Christian, writing for the general market is a way to reach secular readers who might avoid any religious branding. Whichever your calling is, the privilege to be a light to the world through one’s talents is a gift that I’ve come to appreciate more each day.

rem:  Yes! Be a light in the darkness. I fall in the latter of those, and call my genre Faith Fiction. When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you? Your fiction pet peeve?

GARY:  Creative, evocative wordplay draw me in.  What turns me off is when the writer has an obvious agenda that overshadows the story.  Even when I agree, it’s poor writing.

rem:  No kidding! Even in Christian Fiction, some stories are overwhelming with the message—which prompts me to put it down and not pick it back up. Which is more important: plot or characters?

GARY:  I’d say plot.  Even a great character gets boring if the story doesn’t go anywhere.  But many a weak protagonist (Sleeping Beauty, for one) has been saved by a good plot.

rem:  Interesting. And very good point. What are you reading right now?

GARY:  Understanding Show, Don’t Tell (and Really Getting It) by Janice Hardy.  It is absolutely brilliant.

rem:  Nothing so boring as a bleh info dump in the middle of a story. Tell us a little about your creative journey. How did you get started?

GARY:  I grew up in a family where everyone was a musician or an artist, or both.  I was one of the boths, and added a love for writing to the mix. After winning a few art contests, I planned to become a cartoonist. But a career in broadcasting has kept me more focused on the writing and the music.

rem:  You wear a lot of hats—writer, songwriter, and producer. Which came first? Which is dominant?

GARY:  Songwriting definitely came first.  I have a recording of the first song I wrote when I was about ten, a frantic piano tune that would only be at home in a silent movie police chase. Of the three you mentioned, music comes easiest to me, whether playing or composing.

rem:  I miss having a piano, and may be a tad jealous… As a singer and musician, I am fascinated by your eclectic taste in music, and songwriting. What are some of your favorite jingles or parodies you’ve written?

GARY:  I may be proudest of the advertising jingles I did for Polaroid (which tells you how long ago that was!) and a church campaign called “Isn’t It Better Together”.  As for parodies, my favorites are usually the most recent ones I’ve done, such as my overeater’s take on “I Heard It through the Grapevine”, called “I Put It on My Waistline”.  rem: LOL

rem:  You are an “avid analyst” of entertainment. What does that mean and what does it involve?

GARY:  It means I can’t just sit and enjoy movies or music!  I do enjoy them, but I’m also deconstructing every detail to figure out what makes it work or not work.  I’ve learned more from picking up on mistakes than I’ve probably learned from any textbook.  This media junkie can’t get enough of movies and music because it’s a continuing education that makes for a fascinating study.

rem:  Oh.My.Goodness, yes! I tend to do the same thing! What is your role at Southern Writers Magazine?

GARY:  As Creative Director, I designed every page and did much of the editing and some of the writing.  I actually resigned this spring because my broadcasting work had accelerated to the point where I just couldn’t keep up with both, much less tend to my own projects.  Southern Writers is a wonderful publication and I enjoyed being part of its first seven years.

rem:  I sure enjoy the posts there! What is your favorite part of working with authors on the magazine?

GARY:  Over 1000 authors have been in the magazine, and I made lots of friends who I continue to stay in touch with.  Learning from them and experiencing their passion for writing recharges my own.

rem:  I love-love-love the writing community, and the friends I’ve made and continue to make. You have written short stories in anthologies. Where might we find some of your stories, and what is one that stands out in your memory? Why is it significant to you?

GARY:  Most of my short stories were in local anthologies that are out of print, but one called “Family Tree” appears in Stories of Music, Volume Two, which is available on Amazon and includes an audio version. That story is special to me because it’s my true story about a disconnected family which music helped reconnect.

rem:  Oh my! I’mma have to find this and read it! I’m all about family. (and more than a little bit familiar with disconnected / dysfunctional family… ) What do you enjoy most about being a writer / songwriter / producer?

GARY:   I’ve always loved taking disparate things and rearranging them into something new and cohesive.  A good example would be the Oscars Best Picture parody I create every year for the Parody Paradise YouTube channel.  Writing new lyrics within the confines of an existing song (in this case a Best Song nominee) while describing each of that year’s Best Picture nominees in a succinct way, selecting and editing video clips to fit, and attempting humor all at the same time is a huge creative challenge I look forward to every February.

rem:  How fun is that! What other projects are you working on?

GARY:  I voice and produce the radio and TV spots for Christian recording artists on tour.  Right now I’m doing a lot with Mark Lowry and David Phelps, who are always performing somewhere.  I also voice audiobooks on Amazon.  The most fun one so far was the autobiography of Ken Osmond, better known as the infamous Eddie Haskell on Leave It to Beaver.

rem:  At this point I’m tempted to ask if there’s anything you haven’t done… You have a new book coming out.  Tell us a little about it?

GARY:  I have a novel and a collection of short stories in the works, but on the front burner currently is a nonfiction book offering a unique approach to songwriting.  I’ll actually be doing a related presentation soon for the Memphis chapter of ACFW, called “Secrets of Song and Story Structure”.

rem:  Memphis ACFW will enjoy that, for sure. What is YOUR favorite part about songwriting and why do you want to share it? Why should we read it?

GARY:   Having been privileged to dabble in most of the creative arts, I find music the most personally satisfying.  I feel sorry for anyone who doesn’t know the thrill of expressing oneself through words and/or music.  I want to help others by giving them a shortcut to connecting with their elusive muse.

rem:  As a singer and musician and dancer and actress and an author, I know that thrill very well. Where can we find you online?

GARY:  My website is www.garyfearon.com, with too much info about me but also some audio and video that I hope is entertaining.

rem:  Anything you’d like to add?

GARY:  Yes!  I’d like to invite everyone to please join my mailing list through the website.  You’ll be the first in line for songwriting secrets and free instructional videos.

rem:  Awesome, Gary, thanks for the invite! On my way there now… Thank you so much for chatting with us at my little nest today!

GARY:  Thanks for the invitation, Robin!  Much continued success to you and to everyone who took the time to read this!

 

 

“Where words fail, music speaks.” Hans Christian Anderson

 

http://www.garyfearon.com/

http://www.musingandlyrics.com/

https://www.facebook.com/gary.fearon.9

https://twitter.com/Gary_Fearon_

 

 

 

“Whether we hear them from someone else, or live them in our own lives, every day we are witness to countless moments that could be the starting point for the next story or scene we write.”

 

 

#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Interview, Gary Fearon, Writer, Songwriter, Producer

 

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